I had my repeat EGD (upper endoscopy) last Friday (the 6th not the 13th!). Most people with Celiac can take the blood test every year to check antibody levels to access their Celiac disease but I’m one of the lucky people who don’t respond to the blood test (hence, why my diagnosis was missed for five years). Instead, every year I will have an EGD to monitor the progression (or healing) of my disease.
Thankfully the only prep for an EGD is to not have food or water after midnight the night before your procedure (unlike the prep for a colonoscopy which you can read about surviving here). I will say it is challenging for me because usually the first thing I do in the morning is get something to drink. I am like my mom in that typically wherever I am, there is a drink also. The other challenge is that I have really bad veins. Beyond horrible veins. When I know I’m having blood work done, I usually chug water on the way to the doctor to help make the draw a little easier (only one of my many nurses can actually take my blood without using a butterfly needle). Its not perfect but I will take it over spending 8 hours on the toilet.
I was quite nervous on the hour drive to the hospital. This year’s arrival time was 8:30 so it was late enough that we could drop Abby off at school but early enough that I wouldn’t starve (last year’s arrival time was 6:30 which meant a 5:15 departure from home and it just wasn’t pretty). The waiting room was packed when we arrived and evidently whoever arranged the furniture didn’t believe in leg room. Fortunately it wasn’t long before they took me back to get ready.
My nurse was very pleasant and sweet as pie. I put on the fabulous gown and booties and prepared for the worst part of the whole ordeal – the IV. Seriously, nothing else about the procedure scared me except the IV. Earlier in the week, I was in the ER for a migraine and the nurse there blew my only two decent veins so I was concerned. The first attempt was not successful and thankfully it didn’t take her long to admit defeat as she realized just how crappy my veins really are. She was going to get the anesthesiologist to take a look. We wrapped my arms in heat in hopes to plump my veins up a bit since water was out of the question.
While I waited for the anesthesiologist, Hubs got to join me. He gave me a hug, rubbed my shoulders, and then scared the crap out of me by telling me that if they can’t get an IV in your hand or arm that they will use your foot (um…ouch?). Thanks babe. The anesthesiologist (who also happened to have Celiac) came out a few minutes later and I am thankful to report that no feet were harmed in the insertion of the IV. It didn’t take her long to realize the challenge so the first thing she did was numb my hand and grab a smaller needle (praise the Lord!). I know she didn’t get me on the first stick but thankfully couldn’t feel the pain. Hubs, on the other hand, watched and almost passed out.
Once the IV was in, all systems were go! They wheeled me in the procedure room and I chatted with the doctor for a moment before the procedure started. The 2nd worst aspect of having an EGD is the spray they use to numb your throat. It has to be the most disgusting thing out there and of course its the last thing you remember before going out and the first reminder you have upon waking. The procedure was over in 10 minutes.
I woke up in recovery feeling a little crampy from the gas. I scored another good nurse and she brought tissues and a coke upon my waking (double score!). Dr. P stopped by and told me that everything looked good but he would know for certain when the biopsy results came back. Within 15 minutes, I was wheeled down to the car and we were on our way home! Hubs decided to give me my Mother’s Day present early to help me recover – 3 seasons of NCIS on DVD! I’m not sure of a better way to heal than a hefty dose of Mark Harmon.
Biopsy results have come in and I am happy to report that my year of being gluten-free has worked! My intestines are healing! I’ve always had the luck of falling into the crappy statistic category (like when the doctors at CEC told me that I only had a 9% chance of my endo returning after my 3rd surgery – who fell into that 9%?) so I was terrified of being in the small percentage of Celiac patients who were non-responsive. I am so glad to say that I have finally become a part of a good statistic! So skipping Krispy Kreme while its been tempting has totally paid off!
My discharge instructions read: gluten-free diet for life. I think I can handle that especially when I keep finding recipes like this. Now only 11 months 2 weeks until my next EGD!